Tag Archives: google.org

A conversation between two changemakers uplifting women

Editor’s note: This is the first in a three-part series of interviews between expert panelists for the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls. 

As the President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, I lead an organization that invests in women leaders solving the world’s greatest challenges — from gender-based violence to the climate crisis to economic inequities. 

Saskia Niño De Rivera is one of those leaders. She’s the co-founder of Reinserta, a nonprofit that supports mothers and their infants born in prison and helps adolescents who have committed crimes to reduce the cycle of crime and improve the prison system in Mexico.Saskia and her team at Reinserta work directly with those in the prison system to uncover underlying problems and advocate for the most effective solutions. Through doing so, they’ve impacted 2,600 people in prison. 

Saskia and I are expert panelists for the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls, which will give a total of $25 million to organizations  around the world that are working toward economic empowerment for women and girls. As expert panelists, we’ll help evaluate applications from the thousands of organizations that sent in ideas. Economic empowerment is crucial to achieving gender equity for women everywhere, but it's a broad term that takes many shapes and touches different aspects of life across the world. To learn more about what economic empowerment means for women in Mexico, I spoke to Saskia about her path, her work with at-risk communities, and her advice for future changemakers. 

How were you called to do this work?

When I was a teenager, my uncle was kidnapped which shaped how I see the world. It made me think: Why do these kidnappers exist? What have we done wrong as a society that people think it’s okay to take someone’s life into their hands and trade them for money? It was an “aha moment” that changed how I look at social justice.

Since then I’ve had the privilege — and it’s definitely a privilege — to have the time to find my passion. I work in what I love, which is a huge part of being good at what I do.

From there, you went to work for the police — first as a negotiator and then in the anti-kidnapping division. What did that teach you? 

It taught me a lot of compassion. I visited 138 prisons and walked the halls myself. I learned that no one is born an aggressor or violent person. No one is born a criminal.  

I would never justify a crime, but it’s interesting to learn about the background of the people in prison — the circumstances that led them to choose a life of crime. Justice has to do with a co-responsibility where no one is left behind, starting with victims and survivors and following with aggressors. We have to recognize people who commit crimes as a societal failure, and we are all a part of that failure.

I work in what I love, which is a huge part of being good at what I do.

Talk to us about the mission of Reinserta and how it has changed. 

The main objective of Reinserta was to change the prison system to better the security of Mexico. But when you go into the system, there are problems everywhere — so many special interests, so much corruption. So my partner Mercedes and I asked ourselves, “Where can we make a difference? What is urgent?”

This year we adapted the mission to work with children and teenagers that are in contact with the criminal justice system, starting with children who are born in prison. Reinserta is constantly adapting because we’re inside the prisons, inside the justice system, creating models based on what really happens in the prisons. 

Saskia visiting a classroom at a female prison

Saskia visiting a female prison in Mexico City where Reinserta gave a workshop to the women on topics like motherhood, positive parenting and self-care

You’ve been on this path a long time, and it’s a difficult path. What advice would you give to Google Impact Challenge grantees and other people who are trying to make positive change?

Make sure you’re completely passionate about what you’re doing and that you believe in it. You’re going to be in situations — especially in Latin America — where people will think you can’t do it because you’re a woman. 

The best thing I did was partner with Mercedes. When you’re an advocate and activist, doing it by yourself can seem like the best option. It’s not. The best option is having a team that supports you and lives what you’re going through. It’s the right choice for the organization, and it’s the right choice for your mental health and wellbeing.

What does true economic empowerment look like for women in Mexico?

We have to change the way these women value themselves. A lot of them come from “machista” backgrounds — your job is to stay at home and clean and you’re not worth the opportunity to work. How do we break that mentality for girls? We have to make sure that they know they have the same opportunities and abilities as anyone else, and then we have to create the safe conditions for them to be able to have that economic independence.

My year helping India – and honoring a family legacy

GoogleServe is our annual company-wide volunteering campaign that takes place every June. In the spirit of celebrating our Googlers that dedicate time to volunteer, this month, we will feature inspiring stories from Googlers across the world as they share how they are helping their local communities. This week, we shine a spotlight on Suresh Vedula who has been volunteering for the last six months as a Google.org Fellow. 

Most Googlers are driven by a sense of purpose — it’s one of the things we have in common, no matter where we’re from or what role we hold. But where that drive comes from is unique to each of us. In my case, I always come back to the legacy of my grandfather.  

What I learned from my grandfather 

My father grew up in an agricultural town in India where many families own just one hectare (around two and a half acres) of land — barely enough to earn a living as a farmer. Year after year, I saw the tireless labor that my grandfather dedicated to his farm, and how factors like weather or pest infestation could wipe out entire seasons’ worth of crops and the income that was expected to come along with it. 

Like many farmers, he was community-spirited, always thinking of ways to help other farmers and the people around him. When he passed away, my father wanted to carry that spirit forward, so we donated the land from his farm to the government, which built a community school in his memory. I saw how it was possible for my dad to make a difference, and I believed I could make a difference, too.

A photo showing a bust of author Suresh Vedula’s grandfather outside the community school built on land his family used to own.

Bust statue of my grandfather outside the community school

The Google.org Fellowship

Traveling back to my grandfather’s village, I often thought about how technology might have helped solve some of the basic problems that he and other rural farmers faced every day. So I jumped at the chance  to put some of my ideas into action by joining the Google.org Fellowship program — a program that matches Google employees with organizations in need for up to six months of full-time pro bono work on technical projects. 

The nonprofit I helped support, Wadhwani AI, was developing an AI-based offline app to classify and count local pests— backed by a $2 million USD grant from Google.org through the Google AI Impact Challenge. The goal was to make pesticide use more efficient and improve yield for smallholder farmers in India. Wadhwani AI was the first organization in Asia Pacific to welcome a group of Google.org Fellows, and we worked across multiple teams to strengthen their AI model. We also helped them conduct research for users of their app, so farmers could get more accurate and timely information.
A gif showing how farmers see data within the pest management system app built by Wadhwani AI and volunteers from Google

Wadhwani’s AI-powered pest management system app

Resilience in the face of crisis

As the first waves of COVID-19 hit India, we moved all of Wadhwani’s work online. We conducted our research virtually and met with farmers over video calls. We listened and watched as they faced the pandemic with the same resilience and bravery they bring to every challenge that comes their way. One farmer explained how his crop had been destroyed, threatening his family’s entire livelihood, but was stoic enough to say, “I look forward to next season.”

A screenshot showing Suresh Vedula as he carries out an online interview with a farmer involved in the Wadhwani AI project

Conducting our interviews with the farmers online

The farmers were always thinking of one another. When they had a piece of information about a tactic that worked to save their crops they would share it right away. 

While my time as a Google.org Fellows has wrapped up, I will continue as a volunteer with the Wadhwani AI team in my personal time. Much like the example of my grandfather before them, the spirit I witnessed from the farmers will continue to motivate me to do more for the community in a small but meaningful way.

A Matter of Impact: May updates from Google.org

While many countries appear to be rounding the corner on COVID-19, our global humanitarian crisis is far from over. India, Brazil, and other regions of Latin America are experiencing high levels of COVID-19 infections and deaths, propelled in part by inequities in vaccine distribution and healthcare infrastructure. In this month’s digest we share updates on our relief efforts in India and Latin America, as well as other projects happening around the world. 

Lately, friends and family have asked me how they can most effectively contribute to global COVID-19 relief. In the short run, all generosity is needed and quickly getting resources to those who are affected should be the top priority. That’s why we’ve made it easyto donate vaccines and critical supplies through vetted charities. But recovery is a long process, so at Google.org we think about crisis response in three phases: 

  1. Responding to the immediate need. In this case,  providing critical supplies — like rapid testing, protective equipment, and oxygen — to bend the COVID-19 curve. 
  2. Addressing the inevitable knock-on effects to family incomes that come from loss of life and work. Through our grantees, we’re directing support to cash assistance organizations, food relief, and other resources that help families stay afloat. 
  3. Supporting recovery and resilience. Crisis relief doesn’t stop when the headlines quiet down. When attention turns away, local organizations are often left struggling to rebuild and prepare for the next crisis. We’re focused on investing in technologies, like data monitoring about the disease spread, that will help organizations to react to this crisis and improve readiness for the next one. 

We’ve still got a ways to go, but the global outpouring of support makes me optimistic that recovery and renewal lies near ahead. 

In case you missed it 

On May 26, Google.org and the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine announced the launch of the Health Equity Tracker (HET), a public facing data dashboard that displays and contextualizes health disparities facing communities of color throughout the U.S. Google.org also joined celebrations for Teacher’s Appreciation week. We continued our support for the DonorsChoose #ISeeMe campaign and matched donations up to $500,000 for projects created by teachers of color and projects from all teachers requesting culturally responsive and antiracist resources.

Hear from one of our grantees: DonorsChoose  

Kristina Joy Lyles, Head of Equity & Impact at DonorsChoose

Kristina Joy Lyles,  Head of Equity & Impact at DonorsChoose

Kristina “Steen” Joye Lyles is the Head of Equity & Impact at DonorsChoose, an organization committed to a future where students across the country, particularly students of color from low-income households, have access to the resources they need to learn.  

“This year, Teacher Appreciation Week sat at the crux of compounding crises: a heightened racial climate, the global COVID-19 pandemic, and exacerbated inequities in students’ access to continue learning amid school closures. Through teacher surveys, we learned that educators at schools in low-income communities or where a majority of students identify as Black, Latino or Indigenous were more likely to have been teaching fully remote all year, and that their students were having a  harder time finding reliable internet access. With continued support from Google.org, we rallied funding around educators on the front lines, including teachers of color, to fund their most immediate classroom needs — from classroom basics to identity-affirming resources such as books and art supplies. 

This Teacher Appreciation Week alone, Google.org’s support activated matching donations from the public to classroom projects for 1,500 teachers across 1,300 schools over the course of just three days, evidence of the necessary attention being given to address the equity gap during and beyond this pandemic.”

A few words with a Google.org Fellow: Gabriel Doss

Gabriel Doss, a Google.org Fellow with the City of Detroit

Gabriel Doss, a Google.org Fellow with the City of Detroit

Gabriel Doss is a software engineer at Google who is participating in a Google.org Fellowship with the City of Detroit.

"As a native Detroiter, the pursuit of making my hometown a world-class city for its citizens is a mission that has been a consistent north star for me. When I heard that the Google.org Fellowship would endeavor to make affordable housing more accessible for Detroiters who need it the most, I knew that the Fellowship was something I wanted to be a part of. The most surprising thing I’ve learned is that our cohort of Google.org Fellows are working to solve a problem for Detroit that has never been approached in this way before. We consider it to be a huge responsibility and have set our expectations accordingly. We aren’t just delivering on an OKR, we’re working to deliver a product solution that will have sustainable impact." 

Hear more about the project in Gabriel’s interview with Fox 2 Detroit.

Supporting an inclusive recovery this Pride Month

Photo credit: Hanna Benavides

In June of 1994, I stood on a packed sidewalk in Boston, looking all around to take in everything I could at my first-ever Pride parade. As a young student from Argentina, I knew I was gay, but I hadn’t experienced an environment where I could be my authentic self. In the presence of so much joy and celebration, I experienced a new sense of freedom, and a realization that there was a community that would embrace the person I knew myself to be.

This past year, the need for belonging has become more important than ever. The pandemic has separated us from loved ones and communities, and caused significant loss for many. It is abundantly clear that we need an inclusive and equitable recovery.

That’s why, for Pride this year, we’re providing $4 million to support LGBTQ+ communities around the world, including a first-of-its-kind economic relief fund. At the same time, we’re continuing our work to make our products more inclusive and helpful.

Supporting our LGBTQ+ community in the recovery

To aid in the recovery, we’re supporting a relief fund that will help the global LGBTQ+ community. Google.org is providing $2 million to OutRight Action International’s “Covid-19 Global LGBTIQ Emergency Fund.” This will help 100 organizations across more than 60 countries over the next year and bring the fund to North America, supporting frontline LGBTQ+ workers. To start, OutRight has awarded grants to three grantees: Transgender Law Center in the U.S., Lesbian Organization against Violence and Inequality in the Philippines, and Casa das Pretas-Coisa de Mulherin Brazil. These grants will help provide resources like food, shelter and job training for those in need. To further support OutRight’s advocacy for LGBTQ+ human rights globally, we’re providing $1 million in Ad Grants. 

In addition to supporting trans organizations through OutRight’s fund, Google.org is also giving $1 million in Ad Grants to support the Transgender Law Center and the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. These grants will help them share critical community resources and continue the fight for trans rights.

Fostering belonging through our products

We continue our work to make our products more inclusive and useful. In Google Photos, we heard from the trans community that resurfacing certain memories can be painful, so we worked with our partners at GLAAD and listened to feedback, and as a result we’re launching more granular controls, which makes reminiscing more inclusive. In Google Maps and Search, you can now see if a local business has gender-neutral restrooms, adding to our existing features that show whether businesses identify as LGBTQ+ friendly and/or a transgender safe space. This information is critical to helping the community find safe and welcoming places.
A screenshot of a phone showing a Google Maps business profile that lists a gender-neutral restroom.

We’re also honoring LGBTQ+ voices, authors and creators throughout the month. On our homepage today, we’re celebrating Pride with a Google Doodle honoring Dr. Frank Kameny, a pioneer of the U.S. LGBTQ+ rights movement. On Google Arts & Culture you can learn about eight LGBTQ+ artists, view 5,000 photographs of LGBTQ+ history from Leonard Fink and revisit the first 15 years of Pride. Google TV has new Pride collections and a spotlight on the new Pride documentary, and you can even ask your smart display or Nest speaker, "Hey Google, what are you doing for Pride?" to learn more about LGBTQ+ history and leaders.  

Many Pride activities are still virtual this year, and there are many fun ways to engage with your community and celebrate Pride on our platforms. Catch several Pride livestreams, including the YouTube Originals multi-hour event in support of The Trevor Project on Friday, June 25. And in case you need some virtual confetti, when you search for topics like "pride" or "pride parade" on Google, you'll find a delightful colorful celebration. 

Thinking back on my first Pride 25 years ago, it is my hope that communities around the world will be back together, celebrating once again soon. To me, Pride has always been about belonging and celebrating the progress we’ve made as an LGBTQ+ community — from Stonewall in 1969, to marriage equality in the U.S., to the passage of many supportive policies in my home country, Argentina. There is still a lot of work to do, especially as we continue to fight for the rights of our trans community, but I remain optimistic about our community’s future given how far we’ve come. 

Apoyando una recuperación inclusiva este mes del Orgullo

Photo credit: Hanna Benavides

En junio de 1994, presencié desde una calle de Boston mi primera Marcha del Orgullo. Como el joven estudiante proveniente de Argentina que era entonces, miré a mi alrededor y traté de asimilar todo lo que pude. Yo ya sabía que era gay, pero nunca había tenido, hasta ese momento, la oportunidad de estar en un entorno donde pudiese ser yo mismo. Sin embargo, al ver tanta alegría y tanto espíritu celebratorio, sentí una sensación de libertad nueva, y me di cuenta, por fin, de que existía una comunidad donde podría ser bien recibido.

En este último año, la necesidad de pertenecer se ha vuelto más importante que nunca. La pandemia nos ha separado de nuestros seres queridos y de nuestras comunidades, y muchos hemos sufrido pérdidas importantes. Es evidente que necesitamos que la recuperación sea inclusiva y equitativa.

Por eso, ante una nueva Marcha del Orgullo, vamos a aportar US$4 millones para apoyar a las comunidades LGBTQ+ del mundo, incluyendo el primer fondo de ayuda económica de este tipo. Todo esto mientras seguimos trabajando para que nuestros productos sean cada vez más inclusivos y más útiles.

Apoyando a nuestra comunidad LGBTQ+ en la recuperación

Para ayudar en la recuperación, estamos aportando a un fondo de ayuda que asistirá a la comunidad global LGBTQ+, y vamos a proveer US$2 millones al "Fondo de Emergencia Global LGBTIQ de Covid-19" de OutRight Action International. Esto ayudará a 100 organizaciones en más de 60 países durante el próximo año, además de traer fondos a los Estados Unidos para apoyar a los trabajadores esenciales de la comunidad LGBTQ+. En un comienzo, OutRight ya ha identificado a tres beneficiarios iniciales, a los que ha asignado fondos: Transgender Law Center, en los EE.UU.; Lesbian Organization against Violence and Inequality, en las Filipinas, y Casa das Pretas-Coisa de Mulher, en Brasil. Estos fondos aportarán recursos como alimentos, albergue y capacitación laboral a quienes los necesiten. Además, aportaremos US$1 millón en Ad Grants con el fin de apoyar aún más el trabajo que hace OutRight en relación con los derechos humanos LGBTQ+ a nivel global.

Además de apoyar a las organizaciones trans a través del fondo de OutRight, también estamos donando US$1 millón en Ad Grants para apoyar al Transgender Law Center y al Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Estos fondos les ayudarán a compartir recursos comunitarios críticos y a continuar la lucha por los derechos de las personas trans.

Fomentando la pertenencia a través de nuestros productos

Tal como anunciamos en Google I/O el mes pasado, seguimos esforzándonos por hacer que nuestros productos sean cada vez más inclusivos y ayuden cada vez a más personas. Con respecto a Google Fotos, por ejemplo, la comunidad trans nos dijo que volver a ver ciertos recuerdos podía resultar doloroso, de modo que trabajamos con nuestros socios en GLAAD y creamos controles más detallados y granulares, para ayudar a que el acto de recordar sea también más inclusivo. En Google Mapas y en Búsqueda, por su parte, hemos agregado funciones que permiten ver si una tienda cercana tiene baños públicos neutrales en cuanto a género. Esto se suma a las funciones pre existentes, que muestran si las tiendas se identifican como "LGBTQ+-friendly" y/o como un espacio seguro para personas transgénero. Esta información es crucial para ayudar a que la comunidad encuentre lugares seguros y acogedores.

Captura de pantalla de un celular que muestra un perfil de tienda en Google Mapas que menciona un baño neutral en cuanto a género.

Durante este mes, también estamos homenajeando a las voces y a las creaciones de la comunidad LGBTQ+. En la página de inicio de Google de hoy, por ejemplo, celebramos el Orgullo con un Doodle en honor al Dr. Frank Kameny, pionero del movimiento de derechos LGBTQ+ en los EE.UU. En Google Arts & Culture, puedes aprender sobre ocho artistas LGBTQ+, ver 5,000 fotografías de la historia LGBTQ + de Leonard Fink y volver a visitar los primeros 15 años del Orgullo. Google TV, por su parte, destaca el nuevo documental del Orgullo e incluso puedes preguntarle a tu televisor Smart o a tu parlante Nest: "Hey Google, ¿qué hay de nuevo en Orgullo?" para saber más sobre la historia y los líderes de la comunidad LGBTQ+.

Muchas actividades del Orgullo también son virtuales este año y hay muchas formas divertidas de participar con la comunidad y de celebrar en nuestras plataformas. Se pueden ver, por ejemplo, varias transmisiones en vivo del Orgullo, incluyendo un evento de varias horas en YouTube Originals el viernes 25 de junio en apoyo a The Trevor Project. En caso de que necesites papel picado virtual, cuando busques palabras como "orgullo" o "marcha del orgullo" en Google, encontrarás una celebración a todo color.

A 25 años de mi primer Marcha del Orgullo, mi deseo es que las comunidades del mundo puedan volver a reunirse y que pronto podamos celebrar juntos. Para mí, la Marcha del Orgullo siempre ha tenido que ver con pertenecer y es una gran ocasión para celebrar el progreso que hemos logrado como comunidad LGBTQ+: desde Stonewall en 1969, al matrimonio igualitario en los EE.UU., a la sanción de muchas políticas favorables en Argentina, mi país de origen.

Tracking data to advance health equity

Last year, I saw COVID-19 impact the lives of some of the strongest people I know because of their race, class and zip code — especially in my hard-hit hometown of Detroit. But I wasn’t the only one who witnessed this. We’ve all heard how the pandemic has affected vulnerable communities across the country due to structural and long-standing health inequities. Even so, there was no central resource to help consolidate, visualize and understand the data on a national scale. 

Over the past year a team of Google.org Fellows and I worked with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and a multi-disciplinary Health Equity Taskforce to understand COVID-19 health inequities. Today, we released The Health Equity Tracker (HET), a publicly available data platform that visually displays and contextualizes the health disparities facing communities of color throughout the U.S.

With $1.5 million of Google.org grant funding and over 15,000 pro bono hours donated from 18 Google.org Fellows, the HET parses through a mountain of public health data to record COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations nationwide across race and ethnicity, sex and age, as well as state and county. The tracker also measures social and systemic factors — like poverty and lack of health insurance — that exacerbate these inequities and have resulted in higher COVID-19 death rates for people of color, especially Black and Latinx communities.  

The HET allows users to compare public health data on a local and national level.

The HET allows users to compare public health data on a local and national level. 

Collecting this data showed us where there are gaps in our knowledge. Public health data can be inconsistent, collected in silos or missing completely. Knowing where these blindspots are is valuable. When we’re aware of unknown or missing data, we’re able to take action toward improving data collection and reporting standards.

The tracker currently focuses on data analysis for COVID-19, but in the future we expect to be able to track additional conditions, like mental and behavioral health. And we’ll include analysis of health inequities for people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community and those facing socio economic challenges. 

For me, the process of creating this during a time of devastation has helped me translate mourning into meaning. Future generations deserve more complete, accurate, and representative data that can advance health equity in times of crisis and beyond

Watch Satcher Health Leadership Institute’s YouTube series to learn more about health equity tracker and the Google.org fellows who worked on it. 

More support for the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America especially hard. Even as vaccines begin to slowly become available around the region, infection and death rates remain alarmingly high and several countries are grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis.

As the situation has taken a turn for the worse, we at Google have asked ourselves what more we can do as a company to help COVID-19 relief efforts throughout Latin America. Whether it’s ensuring that people get the reliable information they need to keep their families healthy and safe, or providing financial support for the hardest-hit communities, we know there is always more we can do.

Today we're announcing that Google is providing $33 million in new funding for Latin America, including $3 million in grants from Google.org, our philanthropic arm. The first is a $1.5 million grant for UNICEF, to support the urgent needs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru  for more than 580,000 people through health, nutrition and water, hygiene and sanitation programs. The second is a $1 million grant for Amigos do Bem in Brazil to help get food supplies and clean drinking water to more than 8,500 families in need. In addition, we're distributing $500,000 among other nonprofits across Latin America to get aid to communities in need. 

Today's announcement also includes increased Ad Grants support for public health information campaigns in Latin America. We’re making available an additional $30 million in Ad Grants to the Pan American Health Organization through the WHO, local health authorities and nonprofits to help spread accurate and useful information on vaccines and how to stay safe.

This support builds on over $6 million in Google.org grants for education, economic recovery and relief efforts across Latin America since the pandemic began, including a recent $1 million grant for Gerando Falcões in Brazil to provide families in need with food supplies. More than 1,000 Googlers have also contributed over $380,000 in donations and company match to support the Gerando Falcões initiative. 

We know that one of the biggest ways we can help is through our core information products like Search, Maps and YouTube. Our COVID-19 information panels on Search and YouTube are available throughout Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, providing reliable and timely content for our users. We also recently announced vaccination sites in Search and Maps in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and we're working to do the same in other countries in the region as well.

On YouTube, we're taking steps to raise up authoritative information and reduce coronavirus misinformation, while also teaming up with creators and health experts to clarify facts and dispel myths about COVID-19. And throughout the pandemic Google for Education has provided online education solutions to some 37 million monthly active teachers and students in Latin America.

Google will continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give everyone the tools they need to stay healthy and safe, and fight for a better tomorrow. We’re inspired by these organizations on the front lines, and are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their efforts.

Why creating inclusive classrooms matters

Editor’s note: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, Google.org is working with DonorsChoose to continue their support for more inclusive classrooms through the #ISeeMe campaign. Mr. Andy Yung, a classroom teacher from New York City, shares the power of affirming identities in his classroom.

I grew up in Flushing, New York — the same community in Queens where I now teach. I’m honored and grateful to teach students who remind me of my younger self and to interact with their parents who remind me of my own. Because of our shared lived experiences, I identify with my students and their families in a way that is not easily learned. 

As a student, I often felt most connected to the teachers who looked like me and understood my background. But many students never have that experience: less than 10% of New York City’s teachers are men of color, and Asian men represent just 1.5% of New York City’s teachers. Trends are similar nationwide, with less than 2% of US teachers identifying as Asian

When my students see characters who look like us in the books we read, their faces light up because the experiences portrayed reflect their own. But creating these opportunities isn’t easy: in 2015, just 3.3% of children's books published included Asians, and there is no standard curriculum that teaches Asian American history.

That’s why I’m excited to see Google.org team up with DonorsChoose to match donations for inclusive classroom projects through the #ISeeMe campaign — and there’s even an additional donation match for projects from male educators of color like me. #ISeeMe has already helped more than 25,000 educators — including me — fund inclusive classroom projects. 

The funding helped me fill my classroom library with books that serve as both windows and mirrors: windows to observe other people and cultures, and mirrors that reflect and validate our own experiences. When my students see themselves in our reading materials, they know that they belong, what they can aspire to be, and they see that they can use their voices to share their own powerful stories.

Thanks to the campaign, I also fulfilled an idea to help students connect to other cultures and express themselves through food — an important aspect of their identities. I received funding for a cooking cart, and now I regularly invite families into our classroom to make and share their favorite foods from home. 

Classrooms need to be places where every student feels supported and encouraged to share their personal experiences, especially as students return to school this year. The #ISeeMe campaign has made it that place for my students, and I am excited to see more educators and students receive this same opportunity. Starting today, Google.org is matching donations up to $500,000 — dollar for dollar — for projects created by teachers of color as well as projects from all teachers requesting culturally responsive and antiracist resources (such as books, posters and more) for their classrooms. Additionally, every dollar donated to projects created by male educators of color — a group historically underrepresented in the field — will receive a two-dollar match from Google.org. Learn more about #ISeeMe, setting up a campaign or supporting a classroom on the DonorsChoose website.

Hear educators’ stories this Teacher Appreciation Week

Editor’s note: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week,  2020 National Teacher of the Year Tabatha Rosproy is sharing her story, as well as some of the ways Google is supporting teachers this year.  

Every year, Teacher Appreciation Week falls near the end of the school year, which is an emotional time for many teachers. Saying goodbye to our students is always tough, and after a year of educating during a pandemic, those emotions are more prominent than ever.

As National Teacher of the Year, I’ve had the honor of hearing hundreds of teachers’ stories over the past 12 months. I can say with confidence that this year, educators have truly given everything they have. There are the things people see, like teaching lessons, holding meetings and keeping kids on track academically. But there is also work most people don’t see, like the 14-hour days, or the extra mile we go to comfort children who are not our own. Those invisible moments are a critical piece of every teacher’s story. 

So this week, I hope that you’ll join us in listening to teachers’ stories to uncover some of these invisible moments — and celebrating the teachers who have shaped your own story.

Sharing teachers’ stories with StoryCorps

In addition to today’s Doodle, which includes five teacher stories from the StoryCorps archives, Google and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are teaming up to support StoryCorps’ new Thank an Educator campaign. Anyone can use StoryCorps’ self-directed recording tools to record their stories, so you can grab a friend or family member and start reflecting upon the ways in which your favorite teacher changed your life. In the midst of one of the most challenging school years to date, the campaign hopes to spark a moment of gratitude for teachers everywhere. Be sure to check out their website to hear my recording and those from other 2021 State Teachers of the Year.

Homepage image of the US Teacher Appreciation Week Google Doodle, which is an interactive experience featuring 5 animated stories of gratitude for educators. This illustrated image depicts a student handing an apple to a teacher. Within the apple is a rotating carousel of images pertaining to the 5 stories in the Doodle experience.

Expanding access to inclusive stories with The Conscious Kid

Books and reading materials are crucial, practical tools that enable teachers to bring more of the world to their kids and help them develop kindness and empathy for the people around them. Google and The Conscious Kid are building upon their work together to provide educators with recommended titles and evaluation criteria for bringing new materials into their classrooms. 

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, their free inclusive reading guide — with book recommendations spanning Pre-K through 12th grade — has been updated to include more than 50 new titles. And as part of their broader efforts to honor Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), Google and The Conscious Kid are sending a free set of curated books by Asian authors featuring AAPI protagonists to classrooms across the country, starting with eligible teachers at Title I schools. Teachers can request these titles for their classrooms, and anyone can contribute to the fund, here

In addition, The Conscious Kid has collaborated with Wong Fu Productions to bring four of the books to life in a series of read-alongs on Asian American heritage and culture. Rolling out with Harry Shum Jr. reading Grandpa Grumps by Katrina Moore, the videos will be released weekly onThe Conscious Kid’s YouTube channel and in theYouTube Kids app’s learning category throughout the month of May.

Graphic reading "Asian American Storytime" featuring logos from YouTube Kids and the Conscious Kid

Supporting more inclusive classrooms with DonorsChoose 

Since 2005, Google.org has committed more than $88 million directly to teacher-focused organizations and initiatives. Starting Wednesday, Google.org will match donations up to $500,000 — dollar for dollar — for projects created by teachers of color as well as projects from all teachers requesting culturally responsive and antiracist resources (such as books, posters, and more) for their classrooms as part of their continued support of the DonorsChoose #ISeeMe campaign. And every dollar donated to projects created by male educators of color — a group historically underrepresented in the field — will receive a two-dollar match from Google.org. Learn more about #ISeeMe, setting up a campaign or supporting a classroom on the DonorsChoose website.

Introducing the new 2021 National Teacher of the Year

The new 2021 National Teacher of the Year will be announced soon, and I’ll be joining them for a conversation through Google’s Education OnAir series on Friday, May 7.  Be sure to tune in to hear their incredible stories — I can’t wait for you to meet them!

As an early childhood educator, it’s especially important to me that every one of my students knows from a young age that they belong and sees themselves reflected in the stories we tell in our classrooms. Thank you to every educator putting in the work to ensure every student feels included and valued.

Finally, as you’re thinking about ways you can appreciate the educators in your life beyond Teacher Appreciation Week, remember that one of the best ways to support teachers is to listen to their stories, elevate their voices and advocate for their jobs and their livelihood. Together we can continue to do the work of supporting our children who will author our future.

Escucha las historias de los educadores en esta Semana de Apreciación del Profesor

Nota: En honor a la Semana de Apreciación al Profesor,  la Profesora Nacional del Año 2020 Tabatha Rosproy nos comparte su historia, así como algunas de las formas en que las que estamos apoyando a los maestros este año.  

Cada año, la Semana de Apreciación al Profesor llega en un momento emotivo para muchos maestros, alrededor del final del ciclo escolar. Decir adiós a nuestros estudiantes siempre es difícil, y después de un año de educar durante una pandemia, esas emociones se vuelven más intensas que nunca.

Como Profesor Nacional del Año, he tenido el honor de escuchar cientos de historias de maestros durante los últimos 12 meses. Puedo decir con confianza que este año, los educadores realmente han dado todo lo que tienen. Hay cosas que la gente ve: cómo se dan las clases, se hacen reuniones y cómo mantienen a los niños en su recorrido académico. Pero también hay un trabajo que la mayoría de la gente no ve: las jornadas de trabajo de 14 horas o los esfuerzos extras que realizamos para consolar a los niños que no son nuestros. Esos momentos invisibles son una pieza fundamental de la historia de todo maestro. 

Así que esta semana, espero que se unan a nosotros para escuchar las historias de los maestros, descubran algunos de estos momentos invisibles y celebren a los maestros que han dado forma a su propia historia.

Compartiendo historias de profesores con StoryCorps

Además del Doodle de hoy, que incluye cinco historias de maestros de los archivos de StoryCorps, Google y el Consejo de Jefes Estatales de Educación (CCSSO) se están uniendo para apoyar la nueva campaña de StoryCorps:Agradece a un Educador. Cualquiera puede usar las herramientas de grabación autodirigidas de StoryCorps para grabar sus historias. Así que llama a un amigo o familiar y comienza a reflexionar sobre las formas en las que tu profesor favorito cambió tu vida. En uno de los años escolares más desafiantes hasta la fecha, la campaña espera generar un momento de agradecimiento para los maestros de todo el mundo. Asegúrate de visitar el sitio web para escuchar mi grabación y las de otros ganadores del título de Profesor del Año.

Imagen de la página de inicio del Doodle de Google de la Semana de Apreciación de los profesores en EE. UU., que contiene una experiencia interactiva con 5 historias animadas de agradecimiento para los educadores. Esta imagen ilustrada muestra a un estudiante entregando una manzana a un maestro. Dentro de la manzana hay un carrusel giratorio con imágenes de las 5 historias de la experiencia Doodle.

Ampliar el acceso a historias inclusivas con The Conscious Kid

Los libros y materiales de lectura son herramientas prácticas y cruciales que permiten a los maestros llevar más del mundo a sus alumnos ayudándoles a desarrollar amabilidad y empatía por las personas que los rodean. Google y The Conscious Kid están trabajando conjuntamente para proporcionar a los educadores obras recomendadas y criterios de evaluación para llevar nuevos materiales a sus aulas. 

En honor a la Semana de Apreciación del Profesor, su guía de lectura inclusiva y gratuita con recomendaciones de libros que abarcan desde el jardín de niños hasta el grado 12, se ha actualizado para incluir más de 50 obras nuevas. También como parte de sus esfuerzos más amplios para honrar el Mes de la Herencia Estadounidense de Asia Pacífico (APAHM), Google y The Conscious Kid están enviando un conjunto gratuito de libros curados por autores asiáticos con protagonistas de AAPI a las aulas de todo el país, comenzando con los profesores elegibles en el Título I escuelas. Puedes solicitar estas obras para tu salón de clases, o contribuir al fondo, aquí

Además, The Conscious Kid ha colaborado con Wong Fu Productions para dar vida a cuatro de los libros con lecturas en voz alta sobre la herencia y la cultura asiático-americana. Se estrenará con Harry Shum Jr. leyendo Grandpa Grumps de Katrina Moore, los videos se publicarán semanalmente elEl canal de YouTube de Conscious Kid y en la app de YouTube Kids bajo la categoría de aprendizaje durante el mes de mayo.

La hora del cuento con asiáticos americanos

Apoyando aulas más inclusivas con DonorsChoose 

Desde 2005, Google.org ha otorgado más de $88 millones de dólares a organizaciones e iniciativas centradas en los maestros. A partir del miércoles, la organización igualará las donaciones de hasta $ 500,000 - dólar por dólar - para proyectos creados por maestros de color, así como proyectos de todos los maestros que soliciten recursos de consideración y diversidad cultural y antidiscriminatorios (ej: libros, posters y más) para sus aulas como parte de su continuo apoyo a la campaña DonorsChoose #ISeeMe. Cada dólar donado a proyectos creados por educadores hombres de color (un grupo históricamente subrepresentado en el campo), recibirá una contribución de dos dólares de Google.org. Obtén más información sobre #ISeeMe, cómo configurar una campaña o apoyar un aula en el sitio web de DonorsChoose.

Presentamos al nuevo Profesor Nacional del Año

 El nuevo Profesor Nacional del año 2021 se anunciará pronto, y me uniré a ellos para una conversación a través de la transmisión de la serie de Google for Education On Air el viernes 7 de mayo. Asegúrate de sintonizarnos para escuchar sus increíbles historias - ¡No puedo esperar a que los conozcas!

Como educadora de primera infancia, es especialmente importante para mí que cada uno de mis estudiantes sepa desde una edad temprana que pertenece y se vea reflejado en las historias que contamos en nuestras aulas. Gracias a todos los educadores que se esfuerzan por garantizar que todos los estudiantes se sientan incluidos y valorados.

Finalmente, mientras piensas en las formas en las que podemos apreciar a nuestros educadores más allá de la Semana de Apreciación al Maestro, recuerda que una de las mejores formas de apoyar a los maestros es escuchar sus historias, ampliar sus voces y defender su trabajo y su bienestar. Juntos podemos continuar haciendo el trabajo de apoyar a nuestros niños que serán los autores de nuestro futuro.